Basic Information about Spousal or Partner Support

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In California, spousal or partner support is intended to ensure that, for a period of time, each former spouse or partner of a relationship has a “just and reasonable” amount of money to live on. This will be based on many different factors, including the standard of living established during the marriage or registered domestic partnership.

Often, the former spouses or partners can agree on an amount of money for support that they both think is fairly reasonable. However, if they cannot agree, the court may be requested to order Opens new window one former spouse or partner to pay the other an amount of money for a period of time that the court determines is just and reasonable.

Temporary support can be requested as soon as the case is started. The amount of money to be paid is relatively easy to figure out, as explained on our Frequently Asked Questions page on Temporary Support.

Long-term support may be less easy to figure out. The court may consider many factors when deciding how much money is “just and reasonable” for support. Some of these considerations are:

  • the standard of living established during the marriage or registered domestic partnership;
  • the age and health of both people,
  • how long they were married,
  • how much each earns or could earn on their own,
  • the expenses of each,
  • the number of children at home, and
  • how they handled their finances when they were together.

BEFORE A SPOUSAL OR PARTNER SUPPORT CASE CAN BE STARTED, the person asking for payment needs to know where the person being asked to pay support can be found. For information about ways to find a former spouse or partner, click here.

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